Officials say the so-called Midnight Fire had less active behavior than expected Wednesday as fuels changed from mixed conifer and spruce to grass and aspen groves.
They say the rugged terrain, abundance of beetle-killed trees and other observed hazards also call for a change of strategy.
A decision has been made to implement a confine and contain suppression strategy rather than attempt a direct attack and compromise firefighter safety.
The fire was reported Tuesday about 5 miles northeast of the town of Red River.
Officials say a cold front expected to move into New Mexico on Thursday should reduce fire activity because of lower temperatures and higher humidity.